Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

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Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

Postby SpidersWeb on Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:16 am

I know F10 is the right key.
I know when to press it.
I know the keyboard works fine.
I did a CMOS reset.

It'll come up 'Press F1 to continue', pressing F10 at that point should take me to the BIOS but it just boots Windows *rageface*

I can't get in to setup. Seen lots of users with the same problem on 90's Compaq's but no solutions.

Compaq refers to a 'diagnostic partition' on the hard disc - is this also used for the setup program?? I know setup/diags are seperate but can't tell from what little documentation is left as to weither setup is in the BIOS or HDD. I know diags is HDD.

(computer is semi-vintage but not quite, P200MMX)

I've got the setup disk images, and going to try fix it tonight, was just curious if anyone remembered these and could give me a heads up. I don't want to unnessecarily remove the partitions to install diags unless I need it for setup because it has a nice original working install of NT 4 SP6 already on there. Also have ROMPaq 2.2 to flash the BIOS. Got stuck last night because my i7 doesn't like floppy drives.

Edit: also who in their right mind makes a computer with ten buttons on the front and not a single one of them is a normal ATX power button!?!
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Re: Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

Postby Radar on Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:16 pm

Slightly off-topic but if you ever need to get hold of copies of original Compaq Restore CDs for Desktops/Laptops/Compaqs etc. I've got access to a large archive of them at work.

We used to be one of the main NZ Compaq repair centres and while we have long since ditched the majority of the spare parts (and we had pallets full :() we do still have a big archive of the Restore CDs.
We used to provide a nice little service providing copies of these to people who needed them.
I just discovered last week these have actually survived our many moves and purges and I've taken ownership of them.

There is a nice run of Presario/Prolinea/Prosgnia/Deskpro/IPAQ restore CDs + some copies of Boot disks etc.
Should have these for pretty much every model Compaq sold in NZ.

+ some stuff I'm not sure anyone would ever be interested in like older Toshiba laptop restore CDs, Acer (ugh) desktop/laptop software.

For the Compaq Presario 4780 specifically we have "Presario 4170/4870 Restore CD+Boot Diskette"

Hindsight is such 20/20 - I'm now having serious regrets at how much PC hardware I've personally been involved with dumping/recycling over the last 15 years working in serious hardware support.
Should have just one one of each model to one side :( We are still recycling (via. the usual suspects) pallets of gear every week.

Does anyone really want older business servers in there collection? Old big iron like Proliant 1600s, 5500s, Proliant DL3** G1/G2/G3/G4 series, SUN Servers / Sparc 2's
Pretty sure there is a DEC Alpha floating around somewhere that was finally turned off last year.
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Re: Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

Postby lizardb0y on Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:39 pm

SpidersWeb wrote:Windows *rageface*


Wasn't Windows Rageface the version between Win 98SE and Win 2000?

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Re: Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

Postby SpidersWeb on Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:42 pm

I know what you mean about hindsight.
"its just junk" she says, eventually cave in, and now I'm like '#$@!!! ##!!$@@@!!!!'
Toshiba T1200's, Sharp PC8000, IBM PC XT with 20Mb hardcard and a faulty (but still in place) ST412 with IBM stamping, Commodore PC10-III, Commodore 64 and 128, ICL CP/M server, and sooooo many more machines I let go of gradually over the years :/

I did some more digging and have confirmed, setup IS stored on the hard disc. Borrowing a USB floppy from work to make the setup disks.

While this 4780 is simply a network -> 360Kb go between for now, I'd be very keen to get a copy of the restore CD, as no doubt it'll be a vintage soon and I'll regret missing some of the original software tools. For the meantime I think I'll ditch the NT4 install, restore diags/setup, and throw 98 on because I need to run a few DOS disk creation apps etc with it.

Would love to absorb some tower servers, but I'm space limited, so at best they'd be garaged and not used.

and lol lizardboy, thats one copy of Windows I will never have installed on a vintage/classic until the day I die.
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Re: Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

Postby Carcenomy on Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:15 pm

SpidersWeb wrote:I know F10 is the right key.
I know when to press it.
I know the keyboard works fine.
I did a CMOS reset.

It'll come up 'Press F1 to continue', pressing F10 at that point should take me to the BIOS but it just boots Windows *rageface*

I can't get in to setup. Seen lots of users with the same problem on 90's Compaq's but no solutions.

Compaq refers to a 'diagnostic partition' on the hard disc - is this also used for the setup program?? I know setup/diags are seperate but can't tell from what little documentation is left as to weither setup is in the BIOS or HDD. I know diags is HDD.

(computer is semi-vintage but not quite, P200MMX)

I've got the setup disk images, and going to try fix it tonight, was just curious if anyone remembered these and could give me a heads up. I don't want to unnessecarily remove the partitions to install diags unless I need it for setup because it has a nice original working install of NT 4 SP6 already on there. Also have ROMPaq 2.2 to flash the BIOS. Got stuck last night because my i7 doesn't like floppy drives.

Edit: also who in their right mind makes a computer with ten buttons on the front and not a single one of them is a normal ATX power button!?!


Yes. I imagine it's just like my Presario 7222 - the diagnostic partition contains, well, diagnostic software... but it also contains the user-interactive part of the BIOS which has a full on GUI type system with working mouse input etc. Kinda like modern EFI systems, but 15+ years ago.

I'd strongly recommend using a stock restore disc if you can get your hands on one, then do any OS reinstallations or whatever you like without messing with the diagnostic partition.

4780... sounds like either one of those ugly bubblefront beige desktops, or one of the superslim black desktops?
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Re: Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

Postby SpidersWeb on Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:02 pm

Its a big tower - takes up lots of space for visual reasons rather than expandibility though. I quite like the look of it.
Interesting design though, instead of cards stacked vertically, they're stacked horizontally in a carrier. P200 + 64Mb + 4.3Gb Quantum Bigfoot - slow but the noise is epic.

Yep downloaded the setup disks from Compaq (who suprisingly still have them), writing tracks via a USB floppy on a Windows 98 VM right now :)
I have a bunch of disk images, starting with the SETUP disk (being the most obvious).
Once that's done, will throw on 98SE.

Edit: first setup image confirmed there was no diags partition, and looked pretty, but setup was 'not available for this type of machine' despite it being a download for the 4780, am now trying a Softpaq BIOS update diskette to see if it has similar options. It definately says 4700 series 1996 models in the description. Two more after this are the diags disk and the Rompaq 2.2. Descriptions on website are rather vauge.

Edit2: gonna run Rompaq 2.2, maybe they moved the BIOS to being a normal one, setup disks just gives me 'setup is NOT applicable to this machine' etc
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Re: Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

Postby Carcenomy on Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:50 pm

Out of curiousity, what are you wanting to adjust in the BIOS? I know on the 7222 at least, there's a grand total of F all you can adjust in there that it doesn't adjust automatically :)

Sounds like your machine is very very similar to mine, just slightly newer architecture. The 7222 was a Pentium 100 with 8MB stock, I've upgraded it with a 166MHz CPU, 32MB RAM, an Etherlink III, extra VRAM so it can do XGA and a classic Voodoo for the finishing touch.
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Re: Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

Postby SpidersWeb on Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:00 pm

I need to install a 360KB B drive, otherwise I have no practical use for the machine itself.
Also not being able to get in to the BIOS setup drives me nuts, especially on a modern machine.

Rompaq 2.2 turned out to have an older version of the BIOS that's already on there.

Worst case I have the Windows tools, could install 98 and see how I get on from there.

Nice work on the Voodoo, I remember when I had a VooDoo 2 - was epic back then. Following models were a bit of a flop though.
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Re: Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

Postby SpidersWeb on Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:08 pm

Progress is being made, much thanks to Radar for the restore CD, legend!

(On that note, I have an FTP for moving large files that you guys can use if needed, just PM me)

Anywho put CD in, selected my model, starts sorting out the hard disk.
Reboots and magically I now have an F10 button (which I prematurely tried and got Missing operating system) but am stoked to see it.
Restore is going slow but it's going, just crossing fingers the setup/diags it installs works correctly unlike the download from the Compaq site.

Presario 4780 with what I think is a Travan tape drive:
Image
360Kb yet to be installed, thankfully the two I have are white faced.

Restoring...
Image

Crossing fingers... (and yeah I have a bit of spare time since it's taking forever, hence this post :P )
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Re: Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

Postby Carcenomy on Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:10 pm

Ahhhh yep, I know the model. It's one generation newer than mine, fundamentally the same architecture.
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Re: Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

Postby SpidersWeb on Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:14 pm

Suprised it's still with us.

It's not in the fixed asset register at work, which goes back to around 2002/2003. So they've had it just sitting there doing nothing for around a decade, which included office moves.
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Re: Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

Postby SpidersWeb on Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:00 pm

Success :)
I'm in the BIOS. It's like a mini OS in there, hardware crashed when it dried to detect the modem because I had a mouse on COM1 (whoops). Can create new diags/setup diskettes and all sorts.
Actually boots a copy of MS DOS and loads a mouse driver, VGA colour etc. Quite neat.

No more 'time not set' shinnanigans.

Now to go play in Windows 95

Pics coming.
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Re: Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

Postby Carcenomy on Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:14 pm

Yeah it's a truly impressive setup utility considering the era, the only thing similar I can think of is the 'WINBIOS' that AMI worked on for a while there which looked like Windows 3.1, only seen one machine with that system and it was a NexGen Nx586 system. I should never have sold that chip and board.
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Re: Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

Postby Radar on Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:17 am

Sweet - Glad the restore disk worked and booted ok!

I had left the original disk in my work machines drive after ripping it, and was temporarily confused for a moment this morning when I booted the machine, went to get coffee and came back to find a "Restore System" screen.
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Re: Compaq Presario 4780 who stole my BIOS?

Postby SpidersWeb on Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:28 am

lol
I just PM'd you the update when you replied - PM might be a bit late now :P

Was really impressed with the machine once it was restored, OEM software that is actually useful and crazy WIndows BIOS.
Pulled out the tape drive, but thought fetching the 360K drives from the garage after midnight might be too far, will finish tomorrow.
Tape drive had a very handy blade->socket adaptor for the floppy connector.

Edit: oh and IE2, Netscape 2, Compuserve all preinstalled, woo!
Edit 2: But sadly it has USB ports and there is a 95 USB chip driver under System, but it quite simply can't detect anything on the ports.
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